Archive for Nature

About Habitats – Wetlands

Written by Cathryn Sill
Illustrated by John Sill

Buy on Amazon

What exactly is a wetland?  It is a place that is covered with water.  Some wetlands are wet all of the time while others may dry up sometimes.  Other wetlands may look dry but the ground is really very wet and soggy.  Even the plants that grow in the wetlands are different.  Some have are rooted in the dirt.  Some of these grow under the water while others grow out of the water.  There are even some plants that just float around on top of the water.  Grass, shrubs, trees and even human food grow in wetlands.  Did you know that rice and cranberries are grown in wetlands?  These plants also provide a way to clean our water before it soaks back into the ground.  Wetlands provide protection from flooding because they can soak up extra water.  These are good reasons why we need to protect our wetlands.
Too often we think of informational texts as dry and boring.  That is not the case with this book.  While it is considered to be on a third grade reading level, it provides easy reading and comprehension in the main section for lower level readers.  The back of the book provides more detailed information for each of the illustrations that can be used for more advanced readers or for teaching information.
Written by a former elementary teacher and beautifully illustrated by her husband, this book would make an excellent resource for third grade, early research skill building.  The author has included a glossary as well as other books and websites for further research.  This book is just one in a series of other books by the same author and illustrator about different habitats.
  • WetlandsTitle:  About Habitats Wetlands
  • Author:  Cathryn Sill
  • Illustrator:  John Sill
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
  • Reviewer:  Sandi Waymire
  • Paper back:  unpaged
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-689-5
  • Genre:  nonfiction – science/environmental

How To Clean A Hippopotamus: A Look At Unusual Animal Partnerships

Written and Illustrated by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Buy on Amazon

Eew! That smell of dirty socks? It’s actually the hippopotamus hiding in the closet. Quick, how do we clean the hippo and get rid of that smell? Now we have a book that tells us. Young readers will be enticed by its unusual title: of course they want to know how to clean a hippo, and in reading the book they’ll learn all about symbiosis in the natural world.

The back matter tells us that there are many kinds of symbiotic relationships in nature. In this book we learn about mutualism: a partnership which benefits all the animals involved. The hippo, for example, spends most of the day in the water. Algae and water plants make its skin slimy. Enter the African helmeted turtle who nibbles away at the slime. In return, the cold blooded turtle rides on the hippo’s back, warming itself in the sun.

The book is filled with fascinating facts. Clownfish and sea anemone have a symbiotic relationship. But we learn how, to begin with, the clownfish are not immune to the sea anemone’s toxin. They build that immunity over time, slowly exposing themselves to the stinging tentacles till their body adapts to the toxin. Do they become immune to all sea anemone? No. Only to the anemone they interacted with. And if they are away from the anemone for more than 45 minutes they have to start the process of building up immunity all over again.

Third graders, even middle schoolers, will be enchanted by this collection of facts. Teachers can schedule reading activities and reading games — the graphic novel format lends itself to many activities. The book is rich in resources: in the back matter the authors provide additional information (size, habitat and diet) about all the animals mentioned in the book.


Additional Resources:

Fascinating look at book making:

  • Clean a HippopotamusTitle: How To Clean A Hippopotamus: A Look At Unusual Animal Partnerships
  • Author: Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
  • Illustrator: Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Paperback:  32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-99484-0
  • Genre: Picture Book/ Non-Fiction
  • Lexile Score: 950GN

Discover Persian Cats

Written by Trudy Micco

Buy on Amazon

Discover Persian Cats by Trudy Micco is a fun and informative early reader book for third grade reading level and up aimed at readers interested in learning how to care for a Persian cat and/or determining whether a Persian cat is a right family fit. It is also the kind of book I wish had existed when I was a kid trying to figure out what kind of cat to welcome into our family.
» Read more

Twelve Kinds of Ice

Written by Ellen Bryan Obed
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock

  •  A Junior Library Guild Selection
  •  A Winter 2012-13 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
  • Kirkus Best Children’s Books of 2012
  • Booklist’s Editors’ Choice list for 2012
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing, 2012

Buy on Amazon

Written in a lyrical, almost poetic style, Obed’s memories evoke a longing for the simple hopes of a quieter age. Back in the days before the first question asked was not about what liability insurance a family has, families could still afford to be the centers for activities such as ice skating. From the beginning of the book to the end, the importance of the ice is enjoyed by the entire kid-populated neighborhood. Anticipation of the first ice was like waiting for Christmas. Preparations began with that first icy film on the top of a bucket of water. Soon, the ice became an inch thick. After that, barring thaws, steady progression toward a rink in the back yard was the order of the day. The rink was so popular that schedules had to be set up and a referee, in the form of Mom, enlisted. Of course, Dad was involved in building the rink and in the actual skating. He was also the star of the neighborhood ice show. In fact, the author dedicates the book to Dad. At the end of the season, the kids say goodbye to the ice and dream of next year.

McClintock’s illustrations, charming and realistic, complete the depiction of the neighborhood project and aid in comprehension of the ideas.
» Read more

My First Day

Written and Illustrated by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page won New York Time’s Best Illustrated Book of the Year in 2006 for Move! and the 2004 Caldecott Honor for What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?

Buy on Amazon

We all know what human babies do on their first days: sleep, cry, eat, and fill their diapers!Buy on Amazon But what does a blue wildebeest, emperor penguin, or a golden snub-nosed monkey do on its first day? For succinct answers to those questions and more, My First Day is a must-read. Steven Jenkins and Robin Page do it again! For My First Day, they deliver a charmingly illustrated book packed with plenty of information to whet a young reader’s appetite for more information. The illustrations are filled with detail and texture. This book is a read aloud for a third grade class, and it would be amusing to have students read the text that accompanies each illustration and wait for the rest of the class to guess what kind of animal is described. Afterall, who would guess that any frog would be in his father’s mouth from tadpole to baby frog, even with the hint, “On my first day, I hopped out of my father’s mouth.”
» Read more

Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration

Written by Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio

Buy on Amazon

Stories surface from time to time about pets traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to find their way back home. Even humans have an uncanny ability to find their way home. But what if you had more than one home? Your home could even be someplace you’d never seen before.

Going Home is told in pleasing rhyme. Readers may want to read aloud each page to get the full effect. This is listed as “A Share Nature With Children Book.” Berkes includes information about animals from loggerhead turtles to monarch butterflies to manatees. Other animals discussed are ruby-throated hummingbirds, Pacific salmon, Canada geese, California gray whales, caribou, the Arctic tern, and emperor penguins.
» Read more

I Like Mixed-Breed Dogs

Written by Linda Bozzo

Buy on Amazon

I Like Mixed-Breed Dogs is one book in the “Discover Dogs with The American Canine Association” series. The mission of the ACA is to provide dog owners with the educational support they need for training, caring for and raising healthy pets.

Mixed breed dogs are special pets because each one is different than the other. Often times, mixed breed dogs are available for adoption, maybe older than puppies and may require special care.
This book teaches young people all about mixed breed dogs in a language they can understand. The purpose of the book is to educate children who may want a dog for a pet. The books sets out to let kids and their parents know that owning a dog is a very big responsibility and it is a long term commitment that the entire family takes on.
» Read more

Bloodsucking Creatures

Written by Ron Knapp

Buy on Amazon

Load up a book with the ‘ouch’ facts, the ‘yech’facts, and the ‘oh yeah?’ facts. Do away with the blah. Add to that mix magnified photos of the bloodsucking creatures and you have an instant readership – second and third grade readers who delight in the icky and gross and awful.

The vampire bat on the cover looks like it is on its way to the next meal source – you. We learn that the only real vampires in the world are these tiny (three-inch long) vampire bats. Count Dracula with his red cape is a figment of our imagination.
» Read more

Butterfly, Flea, Beetle, and Bee: What is an Insect?

Written by Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by Martin Goneau

Buy on Amazon

The author of the Words are CATegorical series has done it again.This time he brings us Butterfly, Flea, Beetle, and Bee: What is an Insect? which is part of the new series Animal Groups are CATegorical. The book introduces readers to the world of insects in a clever, rhyme filled, funny manner. The insect names are written in color which makes for easy identification. The colorful illustrations make this book a fun read for any 3nd grade student. The story is zany enough to keep kids engaged and informative enough to provide a learning experience at the same time. The illustration style along with the fun approach to what could otherwise be creepy, off-putting, and gross, makes insects seem interesting and makes a fan out of even the most squeamish third grader.
» Read more

It’s Snowing

Written and Illustrated by Gail Gibbons

Buy on Amazon

In It’s Snowing, Gail Gibbons delivers dozens of facts about snow with cheerful illustrations. Third grade students will read about the precipitation process of snow from evaporation to snowfall.

Though the book does not lend itself to be read aloud from cover to cover, portions of it would, and there are plenty of comprehension activities to use with this book. One of the most enlightening parts of this book is about each continent’s snowfall. The most interesting fact is that Antarctica has less snow fall than any other continent! In response to the initial read of It’s Snowing, students may write a list of ten facts that they learned or remember. Students may also respond to a number of journal prompts: What do you do when you have a snow day from school? Would you rather have more sunny days or snowy days? Why? What is your first memory of playing in the snow? If there is a snow day this school year, what do you want to do?
» Read more

« Older Entries Recent Entries »